There are plenty of weird rumours about Prince, and the thing about him is that he was so fantastical, so fabulous, that you’re kind of willing to believe they were true. Here are some of our favourites, from garden gnomes in the bedroom to that alleged vault of unreleased music.
He had mad skills on a pair of rollerskates
That’s according to the musician Questlove, who wrote in his 2013 book Mo’ Meta Blues: “[Prince] clicked [a briefcase] and opened it, and took out the strangest, most singular pair of roller skates I had ever seen. They were clear skates that lit up, and the wheels sent a multicolored spark trail into your path… He took them out and did a big lap around the rink. Man. He could skate like he could sing.”
He had a fairly firm stance against bootleggers
Apparently he was known to turn up to record stores, scoop up the bootlegs of his own records, and calmly walk out.
He destroyed The King of Pop at ping-pong
Now that is a a match we wish we’d seen. Prince’s sound engineer David Z reckoned the two pop Monarchs went head-to-head at the ping-pong table in a studio in Los Angeles, but when Prince suggested he was going to “slam” the ball, Jacko wimped out. “Michael drops his paddle and holds his hands up in front of his face so the ball won’t hit him,” Z said. “Michael walks out with his bodyguard, and Prince starts strutting around like a rooster.” YES MATE.
There’s more music out there
Rumours aplenty of tonnes and tonnes of unreleased music. MTV co-founder John Sykes has said “he has just a plethora of music that we don’t even know about yet,” along with “tens” of music videos. With any other musician, you’d expect this to mean years and years – and years – of posthumous releases. But Prince had the rights to his music all sewn up, famously stripping it from streaming services (check our blog on how to get your Prince fix online), so it may be more complex than that.
He turned down a duet on the Michael Jackson song ‘Bad’ because he thought it was beneath him
Man, it would have been so great, though.
He took out a personals ad in several newspapers when he was wildly famous
A 1993 report in the American newspaper Toledo Blade claimed that 33-year-old has taken out the following ad in a handful of papers around the world: “Eligible bachelor seeks the most beautiful girl in the world to spend the holidays with.” The report included the paragraph: “A former associate said Prince was probably looking for a woman to inspire his creative side, with maybe a bit of romance on the side.”
Journalists had a torrid time attempting to interview him
We’re not allowed to record the interview because you fear we’re going to sell the recording? Right-O, I’ll just dig out my notepad and jot it all down. What’s that, Prince? We can’t do that either because that “would be just like texting”? Yes, plenty of journos found themselves in a dilly of a pickle when faced with The Purple One.
You were not – repeat not – allowed to look at him
An anonymous Prince employee told Notorious magazine: “No crew members were allowed to look at him or talk to him. I literally saw him fire a guy for looking at him. He just said, ‘Why is that guy looking at me? Tell him to leave.'” That’s quite bad behaviour, and yet he could get away with it, because he was Prince.
He had garden gnomes in his bedroom
In 1985, Rolling Stone visited Prince at home in his Paisley Park estate in Minnesota and reported: “The only thing unusual in either of the two guest bedrooms is a two-foot statue of a smiling yellow gnome covered by a swarm of butterflies. One of the monarchs is flying out of a heart-shaped hole in the gnome’s chest.” May genuinely be the maddest thing in this list.